Since his arrival into Formula in 2015 as the sport's youngest ever race starter at the tender age of 17 years and 166 days, Max Verstappen has been confounding expectation, rewriting the record books and raising the game of rivals across the grid.
The son of former F1 driver Jos Verstappen and Belgian kart champion Sophie Kumpen, Max was perhaps destined for a career in motorsport and turned his first laps at the wheel of a go-kart at the tender age of four-and-a-half. By his early teens Max had become a regular title winner on the international karting circuit and in 2013, he won the European KF and KZ championships. He completed his haul of major karting trophies by winning the 2013 World KZ championship, then the sport's highest category.
Max's transition from karts to single-seaters was just as impressive as his progress through the junior ranks. Opting to jump in at the deep end, Max signed for Van Amersfoort Racing to contest the 2014 FIA European Formula 3 Championship. Against top class and considerably more experienced opposition, he won a staggering 10 times on his way to third in the championship standings.
Having proved himself in the ultra-competitive F3 arena, Max's next step was obvious – at least to him. Sidestepping the traditional route towards the next rung of the racing ladder, 16-year-old Max vaulted straight to the top. Joining the Red Bull family, it was announced, in August 2014, that he would race for Toro Rosso in Formula 1 in 2015.
Max's first experience of an F1 car came just four days after his 17th birthday, at the 2014 Japanese Grand Prix. The free practice outing for Toro Rosso made the Dutchman the youngest driver ever to take part in a grand prix weekend.
Just under six months later he became F1's youngest-ever racer when he made his debut at the 2015 Australian Grand Prix. A short two weeks after that he grabbed another record, becoming F1's youngest points-scorer with seventh place at the Malaysian Grand Prix.
In his rookie season Max finished in the points on 10 occasions (including two fourth-place finishes, in Hungary and the USA) and amassed a haul of 49 championship points. He also demonstrated the thrilling aggressive but incredibly precise racing style that has since become his trademark.
A second season with Red Bull's junior F1 squad began in styles with three points finishes from his first three races, but the desire to challenge for bigger prizes, in all quarters, was clear and ahead of the Spanish Grand Prix, Max was drafted into the Red Bull Racing line-up alongside Daniel Ricciardo.
Max's impact was nothing short of spectacular, as after qualifying third on Saturday, he drove an immaculate race on Sunday to claim his first F1 victory and become the sport's youngest winner.
It was a major highpoint, but across the season's remaining 17 races Max continued to provide electrifying racing entertainment, taking seven podium finishes in all and banking 204 points on his way to fifth place in the Drivers' Championship standings.
With new technical regulations coming into force last year, there was plenty of hope that Max's 2017 campaign would rise above his debut season for the Team but across the first dozen races the Dutchman was let down by a spate of reliability issues.
After the summer break Max's bad luck looked set to continue as an engine issue ruled him out of the Belgian GP after just seven laps and his Singapore GP was almost over before it started as a start line collision ended his race.
However, two weeks later in Malaysia the tables turned, and after a textbook drive Max claimed his second career victory. He almost double his season tally a week later but was ultimately forced to settle for second place behind Lewis Hamilton.
However, perhaps his finest moment of 2017 came in Mexico. After qualifying on the front row for the third time in his career, Max muscled past pole position man Sebastian Vettel in Turn 2 to take the lead. From there Max drove flawlessly to eventually claim his third career win some 20 seconds ahead of second-placed Valtteri Bottas.
With F1's regulations now largely stable and with the reliability issues that blighted his 2017 season behind him, there's every hope that in 2018 Max will once again be in the mix for F1 major prizes – on a regular basis.